Follow The Republic:
INDIANAPOLIS — With Warsaw’s bevy of talented offensive players making one last desperate push to crack the defense, Columbus North literally rose above the competition to win its first state boys soccer championship.
Bull Dogs keeper Chase Francoeur, the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-3, jumped high above Tigers midfielder Manuel Rodriguez twice in the closing minutes to snag the ball away from Rodriguez, who was trying to get his head on the ball and keep North on pace to finish its 1-0 victory in the 2A championship game Saturday at Michael A. Carroll Soccer Stadium at IUPUI.
Francoeur frustrated the Tigers several other times throughout the game, leaping high to snatch any shot that was hooking into the goal-mouth. Warsaw’s players kept going as high as they could to attempt to deflect the ball into the net, but Francoeur simply was too long, and too athletic.
It was an emotional ending for the Bulldogs, who had been to the final four three of the past four years.
But with Francoeur playing fantastic in goal, the Bull Dogs’ defense locking up Warsaw offensive stars Diego Lopez and Nathan Kolbe and North’s Keaton Voegerl feeding Brad Shaw for the game’s only goal, coach Andy Glover directed his team to the victory.
“The past four years we have been to three final fours, so this means the world to us,” Glover said after his players finished carrying the championship trophy in front of their fans, who were on their feet most of the second half as Warsaw applied relentless offensive pressure. “This is for a program with a 30-year history of quality soccer.”
The North players had promised each other they wouldn’t celebrate until a state championship had been secured, especially after they had finished second last season to Crown Point on penalty kicks in the title match.
When the final horn sounded, that celebration finally began.
Their journey took a bit of a hit during Conference Indiana play when North dropped a 2-1 decision to Bloomington South for its only loss of the year. Unfortunately for the Bull Dogs, that loss cost them the conference title.
Undaunted, the Bull Dogs pushed ahead, winning sectional and regional titles. Their regional championship was completed with a 4-0 blow-out of Bloomington South.
North beat Cathedral 3-2 and Center Grove 3-1 at semi-state.
“For our guys to get past this game and win for Columbus North feels great,” said Francoeur, who as a senior was making the final start of his high school soccer career.
Shaw, who scored his goal just eight minutes and five seconds into the game, walked off the field as several hundred Columbus North fans continued to celebrate in the background.
“I really won’t realize this, and what we have done, until I get home,” he said.
Columbus North senior defender Reid Wilson was named the 2A winner of the C. Eugene Cato Mental Attitude Award, which goes to a player nominated by his principal and coach for his mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability. Columbus North was presented a check for $1,000 in Wilson’s name.
Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!
Note: All comments left on our sites are first reviewed by an automated comment moderation system. Your comment may take up to 5 minutes to appear. If for any reason your comment can not be approved you will receive an email from this system with a detailed explanation.
All content copyright ©2013 The Republic, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.